WHEN POLICY ALERT IS FALSEHOOD
“Part of the problems that the young minds at Policy Alert have is a shortfall of knowledge and understanding of how government works. For instance, most if not all the projects that PA listed as ‘already inaugurated but still budgeted for’, are projects that the government is still owing contractors and budgetary provisions must be made for the installmental payment across possibly many budget cycles.
One good example is Eket-Etinan Road, one of the most beautiful roads in the State, which former president Olusegun Obasanjo commissioned in the last days of the very accomplished Governor Emmanuel’s Administration. The contractors completed the job perfectly well and allowed it to be commissioned under what is called ‘good faith’ money. Good faith money is a deposit of money into an account by a contractor or buyer to show that they have the intention of completing a deal.
Government is still owing these contractors and debt payments in most cases can span and spread across many budget years as the government struggles to walk the tightrope of balancing pressing public needs with lean financial resources.
The good news in the Akwa Ibom case is that the budgets for these roads and other projects are all in the public domain. Thanks to the nationally acknowledged and applauded transparency of the Udom Emmanuel Administration, what has been spent and the balance to be spent in all projects are there for the public to see. These are all public documents and absolutely nothing new. That’s why there are terminologies like budget deficit, budget surplus, budget performance, etc. Budget, after all, is a mere plan, estimate, and proposal of the government, organisation, and even individuals, that depend on a number of factors that are sometimes beyond human control, to be executed. The fact that projects, programmes and services have been budgeted for does not mean that they have all been executed within that budget cycle. This applies to the budgeted vehicles that PA raised a needless alarm about””.